Convenience stores alleged to have sold synthetic drugs sued by Iowa AG

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 29, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against two Des Moines convenience store owners who allegedly sold synthetic drugs in their stores.

Sarbpreet Singh and Sandeep Kaur, the owners of the Shop N Save convenience store and 3S Venture LLC, the store's parent company, allegedly violated the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act and the Iowa Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. Singh and Kaur allegedly sold synthetic drugs at their store under the names 7H, Stardust, Scooby Snax, OMG, Kush and Caution. The suit alleged the drugs were marketed and sold to consumers for the specific purpose of being used as a drug.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prohibit the defendants from advertising or selling synthetic drugs and the payment of up to $40,000 per legal violation.

"We hope this civil case will send a clear message to Iowa retailers that we're ready to do battle, and that selling synthetic drugs isn't worth the safety risk to your customers or the legal risk to you," Miller said. "We owe it to parents of teenagers who tend to buy synthetic drugs to do what we can to fight the problem, and that's what we're doing through a new civil law enforcement route."

Miller's lawsuit alleges one synthetic substance sold at the store contained material coated with synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic drugs can cause severe adverse side effects beyond those found in the organic drugs, including vomiting, anxiety, delusions, violence, prolonged psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts, increased heart rate, seizures and death.

The lawsuit is the first civil case the state has brought to try to stop future synthetic drug sales. It alleges the defendants engaged in consumer fraud by selling misbranded drugs.

"Our sincere hope is that this type of civil case will help make retailers think twice about selling awful drugs like these, which harm and kill people-especially teenagers," Miller said. "We think this approach may give us another option in holding retailers accountable for selling synthetic drugs. Our goal is to complement-not replace-the excellent work that law enforcement is doing on the criminal front to combat synthetic drug sales. It's a very challenging legal environment."

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